The wife and I are Mr. and Mrs. Just-In-Case. Over the years, if there’s been some small, inexpensive thing that could make our lives easier, we’ve purchased it. As I bitched about in my ‘Autumn Housecleaning’ post, the problem is that we never get rid of things we no longer use.
Living as we have, in the same houses for decades, we have accumulated the greatest collection of ‘stuff’, some of it fairly non-standard. We lived for a couple of years beside a single mother with two young daughters. She acquired a long-term boyfriend who was there for more than just the free sex. Whenever he tried to clean up, fix up or paint up, she never had any/the right tools, so she would tell him to go next door, and ask Archon if he might borrow something.
A tree branch had grown over the driveway where he wanted to park his car. Would I have a saw that he could use to cut it off? We used to go camping when the kids were young. How about a small, light bucksaw? Perfect!
Later, he wanted to clear out a lilac bush which had overgrown a fence corner. Did I have a small axe or hatchet that he could cut out the sucker shoots with? See ‘camping’, above. Weekend after weekend this went on, many requests common, some, not as much. A circular saw, a hand drill and set of bits, a pipe wrench(?), tape measure, carpenters’ level, (3-foot professional, or foot-long home version?) a pry-bar, (standard crowbar or 8 inch window jimmier?) all quickly, freely provided.
Finally, she wanted to reward him for the things he’d done around her place, by baking him a cake. For this, she wanted a spring-form cake pan. “Go next door and ask (Mrs.) Archon if they have one.” If it involves food, ‘Of course we do!’ As I handed it to him, he asked, “Do you guys have everything?”
I guess she didn’t understand the ‘spring-form’ concept. You’re supposed to unlatch the little clip on the side to increase the diameter and have the cake slide out. Apparently she tried to remove it with a large butcher knife, ruining the non-stick, Teflon coating, and gouging the aluminum pan. She felt badly, and bought a replacement at a Dollarama store, but it wasn’t the quality that the wife had found.
Even now, there are things in our house that I’m sure few other homes contain. The son owns a jewellers’ loupe, that thing that you stick in your eye and hold in place with your eyebrow, which magnifies things 10 times. He bought it from a local jeweller after he left high school, but can’t remember why. I’ve used it often over the years to check the detail on some of the coins I’ve acquired.
Recently, the wife encountered a recipe that called for powdered ginger. We have fresh ginger root, grated ginger and dried, chunk ginger. We also have a small, powerful little electric ‘thing’ useful for such tasks as grinding coffee. It would quickly turn the dry chunks into powder, but the wife decided to go a different way.
(To the son) “Call your sister, and ask her if we can borrow her mortar and pestle. She just bought one that she uses to crush herbs for cooking, home remedies and aromatherapy.”
The son replied, “Why bother her? When she bought the new one, I bought her old one from her. It’s in my room.” It now sits in pride of place, below the overstuffed spice rack in the kitchen, groaning under every spice known to man, and a couple only to Martians. ‘Eat your heart out bland potatoes, Matt Damon.’
Into each life, a little weird must fall. It’s just that it falls a little harder and faster at our house. 😉